The Department of Transportation (DOTr) and the Metro Rail Transit Line-3 are extending the "Libreng Sakay" program, allowing the commuting public to enjoy the free rides until May 30.
In an announcement Wednesday the DOTr and MRT-3 said the program would "continue helping our commuters ease their financial burden amid inflation and rising fuel prices."
To continue providing assistance to the riding public in their commuting needs, the MRT-3 Management and the Department of Transportation (DOTr) have decided to extend for another month the implementation of the FREE RIDE or "LIBRENG SAKAY" program in MRT-3.
Passengers will be able to continue enjoying free rides at the rehabilitated MRT-3 line until 30 May 2022, anytime between the rail line’s operating hours from 4:40 a.m. and 10:10 p.m.
A total of 7,227,434 passengers as of 26 April 2022 have benefitted from the MRT-3 FREE RIDE program, which was launched on 28 March 2022 and set to initially end by 30 April 2022.
DOTr Secretary Art Tugade said the extension of the FREE RIDE program hopes to continue ease the financial burden of commuters amid inflation and rising fuel prices, especially with more workers returning to on-site work.
"Gumanda at nagbago ang ridership ng MRT-3. Bago mag-pandemya, 260,000. At bagama’t may pandemya, ‘yung ridership ay umaabot sa 280,000. At ngayon, nasa 300,000 na ang naisasakay ng MRT-3 at naihahatid nang ligtas, kumportable, at walang aberya. Napapanahon na i-extend pa natin ang LIBRENG SAKAY sa MRT-3 upang mas maraming Pilipino ang makinabang,” said Secretary Tugade.
According to MRT-3 OIC-General Manager and Director for Operations Michael J. Capati, the increasing ridership of MRT-3 attributed to the implementation of the FREE RIDE and the return of many to on-site work has also allowed the rail line to further test its capacity and performance following the completion of its massive rehabilitation.
“We saw a definite increase in our ridership when we implemented the FREE RIDE in MRT-3. So it was also productive on our part because we were able to test the capacity and performance of our fully rehabilitated railway system,” said OIC-General Manager Capati.
MRT-3 recorded an average weekday ridership of 306,986 from 28 March to 26 April 2022, a 26.95% increase from the average weekday ridership of 241,800 from 1 March to 27 March 2022 prior to the implementation of the FREE RIDE program. The highest single-day ridership was recorded on 8 April 2022 when 335,993 passengers took the MRT-3, a 19.4% increase from the record-high 258,989 ridership logged on 25 March before the FREE RIDE program. The MRT-3 records an average weekday ridership of 250,000 to 300,000 prior to the pandemic.
MRT-3 OIC-General Manager Capati added the extension of the FREE RIDE program will further allow the MRT-3 to test its capacity in accommodating up to or more than 350,000 passengers daily.
To augment the rail line’s capacity, the MRT-3 Management will also continue deploying 4-car CKD train sets on the revenue line during peak hours. A 4-car train set can accommodate up to 1,576 passengers.
The MRT-3 Management and its maintenance provider, Sumitomo-MHI-TESP, completed the rehabilitation of the rail line last December 2021. On 22 March 2022, no less than President Rodrigo Duterte led the inauguration of the fully-rehabilitated MRT-3 at the Shaw Boulevard station in Mandaluyong City.
Following its rehabilitation, the MRT-3 now operates at the speed of up to 60 kph from the previous 25 kph. The number of trains have also increased from as few as 15, now up to 23 operational trains. Meanwhile, the headway or the waiting time between trains has been reduced from around 10 minutes to as low as 3.5 minutes.
Under the MRT-3 rehabilitation project, the entire stretch of the line's mainline tracks was replaced and rehabilitated. Also upgraded were the line's power supply, overhead catenary system, rolling stock, communications and signaling system, stations, as well as depot facilities and equipment.